Christ Speaks both as God and Man

Easter 6 Monday

John 14:16

“And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, to be with you forever.”


“As you keep my commandments, living in fraternal concord–by which people will see that you love me–you must realize that the devil will attack you; the world will become hostile and inflict all kinds of vexations and pain; and the false Christians and sects will repay your love with all kinds of evil tricks. But do not be deterred, but carry on and remain in my love. There will be no danger; you will not be forsaken. For I will not sit idly in heaven above and forget you. I will do nothing but be your dear priest and mediator, asking and imploring the Father that he may give you the Holy Spirit who is to comfort, strengthen, and preserve you in all danger, so that you always remain in my love and are able to endure joyfully everything that is done to you for my sake.” But how do these words, “I will ask the Father,” agree with what he had said earlier in verse 13: “I will do what you ask in my name?” By these earlier words he shows himself to be true God who wants to give himself what they ask of him. But the latter words say that he wants to ask the Father so that he would give a Comforter. How can it be said of him who is true God that he should ask something of another? For being subject to another and having to receive something from another is not a property of God, as God himself is able to do and give all things. … Consider this entire text, looking at both what comes before and what follows, and you will find that Christ speaks both God’s and man’s word. This mightily proves our doctrine and faith that he is both true man and also true God. For how can you put into one way of speaking that he should at once speak as a God and as a man, since there are two distinct natures? If he spoke everywhere as God, we could not prove that he is a true man. But if he spoke everywhere as a man, we would not realize that he is also true God. This is why he must change it up and sometimes use words that are proper for the divine nature and at other times use words that are proper for the human nature. Still, the one person speaks in both ways, at times as if he were only God, at times as if he were only man. For since he is both God and man in one person, why should he not use both ways of expressing himself? But here he uses both ways of expressing himself in quick succession in the same sermon. For the one who said, “I will do what you ask,” is the same who says here, “I will ask the Father.” This he does so that this article is certain and clear: In this person, in Christ, there is not just the divine nature and not just the human nature, but both divine and human nature are undivided in one person. … The person in Christ remains undivided so that the properties of both the human and divine natures are attributed to the entire person so that one says about this person: The man Christ, born of the virgin, is almighty and does everything we ask, though not on account of the human nature, but on account of the divine nature – not because he was born of a mother, but because he is God’s Son. The opposite is true as well: Christ, God’s Son, asks the Father, not according to the divine nature or substance according to which he is almighty as the Father is almighty, but because he is true man and Mary’s son. In this way, we should draw these words together and compare them according to the unity of the person, always distinguishing the natures but leaving the person undivided. … In summary, what this person, Christ, speaks and does is spoken and done by both the true God and the true man.


St. Louis ed., 8:379-383.

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